Explore the Surface of Mercury
December 16, 2009 2:37 PM Subscribe
posted by SpringAquifer (15 comments total)
5 users marked this as a favorite
team (previously: 1, 2, 3)
, with help from the U.S. Geological Survey, released yesterday
the first global map of the planet Mercury
The map stitches together images from MESSENGER's three recent flybys of the planet with those from Mariner 10
, which saw about 45% of the planet in the mid-1970s. While a seemingly simple task, "the challenging part has been to make cartographically accurate maps from a series of images with varying resolution (from about 100 to 900 meters per pixel) and lighting conditions (from noontime high Sun to dawn and dusk) taken from a spacecraft traveling at speeds greater than 2 kilometers per second (2,237 miles per hour)."
This map serves an "extremely important use as a planning tool" and signifies that MESSENGER "is no longer a flyby mission but instead will soon become an in-depth, non-stop global observatory of the Solar System’s innermost planet.”
Also available to explore on the USGS's Map-a-Planet
website: Venus, the Moon, Mars, Callisto, Europa, Ganymede, Io, Rhea, Dione, Tethys, Iapetus, and Enceladus.